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article imageToshiba joins in race to get perovskite solar cells in production

By Karen Graham     Sep 25, 2017 in Technology
Perovskite - Remember this word because we're all going to be hearing a lot more about its unique abilities in making inexpensive solar cells.
Perovskite has always presented a major problem when in its regular form, with it being unstable when in contact with water or even normal humidity. Perovskite is named for the Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski and can deteriorate within a matter of minutes or hours.
But that particular problem of breaking down in the presence of moisture was overcome by a team of researchers from Lund University in Sweden and from Fudan University in China in May this year. Researchers found that perovskite sheets had a unique ability - the structure of the sheets was self-organizing and stood on their edge. This unusual ability greatly increased the efficiency of the perovskite sheets.
Perovskites have sub-metallic to metallic luster  colorless streak  cube like structure along with i...
Perovskites have sub-metallic to metallic luster, colorless streak, cube like structure along with imperfect cleavage and brittle tenacity.
Andrew Silver
Perovskite's disrupts solar cell technology
The global solar industry, estimated to be worth over $42 billion, will soon be disrupted by perovskites, now incorporated into a range of materials used to harvest light when turned into a crystalline structure. The hybrid organic-inorganic photovoltaic material is not only cheap to produce but relatively easy to manufacture.
It took a breakthrough in 2012 to shift perovskite research into high gear. That was when the material’s conversion efficiency — the portion of sunlight that can be converted into electricity — rose above 10 percent for the first time.
One group of researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) built what's called a 2D/3D hybrid perovskite solar cell last year, and reported in June of 2017 it had been working for over a year. Their solar cell had an efficiency of 11.2 percent compared to silicon.
This is a schematic representation of the findings of this study. (MK Nazeeruddin/EPFL.)
This is a schematic representation of the findings of this study. (MK Nazeeruddin/EPFL.)
Nature Communications
More disruptions on the way to commercialization
A big breakthrough in perovskite solar cell technology was realized when Saule Technologies presented a flexible perovskite photovoltaic module developed in the company's laboratories at the 3rd International Conference on Perovskite Solar Cells and Optoelectronics (PSCO-2017) last week. The module was printed using ink-jet printing for the fabrication of free-form perovskite solar modules.
On September 25, Toshiba announced it had fabricated a perovskite solar cell mini-module with an energy conversion rate of 10.5 percent, which it claims is now the highest rate that has been reached throughout the world with a multi-cell mini-module.
Toshiba s 5 cm X 5 cm Film-based Perovskite Solar Cell Mini-module.
Toshiba's 5 cm X 5 cm Film-based Perovskite Solar Cell Mini-module.
Toshiba achieved its results under a research program supported by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). They used a new printing process to create their 5X5 centimeter film-based perovskite solar cell mini-modules.
Oxford PV sees manufacturing in 2017-2018
Oxford Photovoltaics (Oxford PV), a spin-off from the University of Oxford, is the global leader in the field of perovskite solar cells. In December 2016, Oxford PV received 8.1 million pounds ($10 million) of additional funding from investors including Statoil ASA.
“We expect to have a product that meets industry requirements by the end of 2017,” Frank Averdung, chief executive officer at Oxford PV said by email to Next Big Future. “Adding some time for qualification, certification, and production, our first product could be commercially available towards the end of 2018.”
The company has also been named as one of the top 50 most innovative companies in the world, by the German edition of MIT Technology Review this month. Oxford PV was also honored as one of the top three companies in the Newcomer of the Year category of this prestigious list.
Oxford PV is working on developing a high-speed production concept that would allow for the manufacture of cells at 3,200 substrates an hour, making this a good commercial pitch. But interestingly, the company only wants to design cells to customer specifications - That is, major module makers, rather than trying to make and sell the modules themselves.
The first pilot line should be turning out Oxford PV perovskite-silicon cells “in the 2017-18 time-frame”, says Oxford PV. “We’re really getting there.” In the very near future, it's entirely possible we will be seeing perovskite cells on top of cars, windows, and walls.
More about perovskite, sprayon solar cells, thinfilm solar cells, Toshiba, Oxford PV
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